Oral habits and malocclusion in children resident in Ile-Ife Nigeria

  • K. A. KolawoleEmail author
  • M. O. Folayan
  • H. O. Agbaje
  • T. A. Oyedele
  • N. K. Onyejaka
  • E. O. Oziegbe
Original Scientific Article



To determine the: prevalence of oral habits in children aged 1–12 years in Ife Central Local Government Area of Osun State Nigeria; association between oral habits and malocclusion in children aged 6–12 years; differences in orthodontic treatment needs of children with and without oral habits and the effect of digit sucking severity on occlusal profile.


This was a cross-sectional study that collected data through a household survey. Information collected included the age, gender, and oral habits of study participants. Intra-oral examination was conducted. The Dental Aesthetic Index (DAI) was used to assess orthodontic treatment needs for 6–12-year-old participants. Independent sample t test was used to compare mean DAI scores of participants with and without oral habits. A digit sucking severity index was developed and digit sucking severity was determined.


One hundred and thirty (13.1%) study participants had 142 oral habits. The most common oral habit was digit sucking. The most common malocclusion traits were spacing (29.9%), crowding (21.7%) and increased overjet (16.4%). DAI scores were significantly higher in participants with tongue thrusting (p < 0.001) and bruxism (p = 0.01) habits compared with participants without the habits. Among the 67 participants with oral habits, 54 (80.6%) had no need for treatment, 9 (13.4%) needed elective treatment and treatment was mandatory for 4 (6.0%) participants.


Digit sucking was the most frequently practiced oral habit in the study population. Tongue thrusting and bruxism were significantly associated with greater severity of malocclusion in children 6–12 years old when compared with peers who had no habits. Most children with oral habits had no need for treatment.


Oral habits Digit sucking Digit sucking severity index Malocclusion Orthodontic treatment need Children 



We appreciate all the children, parents and field workers who participated in the study.


The Investigators did not receive any funding from any body or organization to conduct this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The Authors hereby declare that we have no conflicts of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

Ethical approval for the study was obtained from the Ethics and Research Committee of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex Ile-Ife (ERC/2013/07/14). Approval for conduct of the study was obtained from the Local Government Authority prior to commencement of the study. The study has been conducted by the highest principles of human subject welfare, and in full compliance with the study protocol. Efforts were made to minimize risks to participants and discomfort during clinical examinations. All study procedures were conducted in private, and every effort was made to protect participant privacy and confidentiality. Names of participants were not written on study questionnaire, and were not used in connection with any of the information given, serial numbers were used. All study-related information were stored securely on personal computers with password.

Informed consent

Children participated in this study if both the parent and child agreed to participate. Written informed consent was obtained from the parent of each study participant prior to enrollment after duly explaining the objectives of the study, risk and benefits, voluntary nature of study participation and freedom to withdraw from the study at any time. All children aged 8–12 years also provided written assent in addition to the written consent by parents. There was no punishment involved if participants wished to withdraw from the study.


  1. Adegbite KO, Isiekwe MC, Adeniyi AA. Effect of oral habits on the occlusion of 5–12 year old childrern in Lagos Nigeria.West African. J Orthod. 2012;1(1):34–40.Google Scholar
  2. American Academy of Paediatrics. Policy statement SIDS and other sleep related infant deaths: expansion of recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment. Pediatrics. 2011;128:1030–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Araoye MO. Research methodology with statistics for health and social sciences. 1st ed. Ilorin: Nathadox Publishers; 2003.Google Scholar
  4. Bazysk S. Factors associated with the transition to oral feeding in infants fed by nasogastric tubes. Am J Occ Ther. 1990;44(12):1070–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berger KS. The developing person through the life span, 7th ed. New York: Worth Publishers; 2008.Google Scholar
  6. Cons NC, Jenny J, Kohout FJ. DAI: the dental aesthetic index. Iowa City: College of Dentistry, University of Iowa; 1986.Google Scholar
  7. Corrêa-Faria P, Ramos-Jorge ML, Martins-Júnior PA, Vieira-Andrade RG, Marques LS. Malocclusion in preschool children: prevalence and determinant factors. Eur Arch Paediatr Dent. 2014;15(2):89–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Davidson L. Thumb and finger sucking. Pediatr Rev. 2008;29(6):207–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Folayan MO, Kolawole KA, Oyedele T, et al. Association between knowledge of caries preventive practices, preventive oral health habits of parents and children and caries experience in children resident in sub-urban Nigeria. BMC Oral Health. 2014;14:156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Harding CM, Law J, Pring T. The use of non-nutritive sucking to promote functional sucking skills in premature infants an exploratory trial. Infant. 2006;2(6):238–43.Google Scholar
  11. Hauck FR, Omojokun OO, Siadaty MS. Do pacifiers reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome? A meta-analysis. Pediatrics. 2005;116:716–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kolawole KA, Folayan MO, Agbaje HO, et al. Digit sucking habit and association with dental caries and oral hygiene status of children aged 6 months to 12 years in semi-urban Nigeria. PLoS One. 2016;11(2):e0148322. Scholar
  13. Laganà G, Fabi F, Abazi Y, et al. Oral habits in a population of Albanian growing subjects. Eur J Paediatr Dent. 2013a;14(4):309–13.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Laganà G, Masucci C, Fabi F, Bollero P, Cozza P. Prevalence of malocclusions, oral habits and orthodontic treatment need in a 7- to 15-year-old schoolchildren population in Tirana. Prog Orthod. 2013b;14:12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lopes-Freire GM, Cárdenas AB, Suarez de Deza JE, et al. Exploring the association between feeding habits, non-nutritive sucking habits, and malocclusions in the deciduous dentition. Prog Orthod. 2015;16:43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Loudon ME. The origin and development of malocclusions. When, where and how dental malocclusions develop. Int J Orthod. 2013;24(1):57–65.Google Scholar
  17. Maspero C, Prevedello C, Giannini L, Galbiati G, Farronato G. Atypical swallowing: a review. Minerva Stomatol. 2014;63(6):217–227.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Ojofeitimi EO, Esimai OA, Owolabi OO, Olaobaju OF, Olanuga TO. Breastfeeding practices in urban and rural health centres: impact of Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative in Ile-Ife Nigeria. Nutr Health. 2000;14(2):119–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Onyeaso CO. Oral habits among 7–10 year-old school children in Ibadan, Nigeria. East Afr Med J. 2004;81(1):16–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Orimadegeun EA, Obokon GO. Prevalence of non-nutritive sucking habits and potential influencing factors among children in urban communities in Nigeria. Front Pediatr. 2015;3:30.Google Scholar
  21. Otuyemi OD, Ogunyinka A, Dosumu O, et al. Perceptions of dental aesthetics in the United States and Nigeria. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 1998;26:418–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Otuyemi OD, Ogunyinka A, Dosumu O, Cons NC, Jenny J. Malocclusion and orthodontic treatment need of secondary school students in Nigeria according to the dental aesthetic index (DAI). Int Dent J. 1999;49:203–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Proffit WR, Fields HW, Sarver DM. Contemporary orthodontics, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elseiver; 2007.Google Scholar
  24. Quashie-Williams R, daCosta OO, Isiekwe MC. Oral habits, prevalence and effects on occlusion of 4–15 year old school children in Lagos, Nigeria. Niger Postgrad Med J. 2010;17(2):113–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Reyes Romagosa DE, Paneque Gamboa MR, Almeida Muñiz Y, et al. Risk factors associated with deforming oral habits in children aged 5 to 11: a case-control study. Medwave. 2014;14(2):e5927.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Saccomanno S, Antonini G, D’Alatri L, et al. Causal relationship between malocclusion and oral muscles dysfunction: a model of approach. Eur J Paediatr Dent. 2012;13(4):321–3.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Santrock JW. A topical approach to life-span development. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2008.Google Scholar
  28. Silva M, Manton D. Oral habits—part 1: the dental effects and management of nutritive and non-nutritive sucking. J Dent Child. 2014a;81(3):133–9.Google Scholar
  29. Silva M, Manton D. Oral habits part 2: beyond nutritive and non-nutritive sucking. J Dent Child. 2014b;81(3):140–6.Google Scholar
  30. Tanaka OM, Vitral RW, Tanaka GY, Guerrero AP, Camargo ES. Nail biting, or onychophagia: a special habit. Am J Orthod Dentofac Orthop. 2008;134(2):305–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Thomaz EB, Cangussu MC, Assis AM. Malocclusion and deleterious oral habits among adolescents in a developing area in northeastern Brazil. Braz Oral Res. 2013;27(1):62–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. W. H. O. World Health Organization. Oral health surveys: basic methods, 4th ed. Geneva: World Health Organization; 1997.Google Scholar
  33. Yonezu T, Yakushiji M. Longitudinal study on influence of prolonged non-nutritive sucking habits on dental caries in Japanese children from 1.5 to 3 years of age. Bull Tokyo Dent Coll. 2008;49(2):59–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zwemer T, Stocking S, Gubili J. Mosby’s Dental Dictionary. 2nd ed. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 2008.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. A. Kolawole
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. O. Folayan
    • 1
  • H. O. Agbaje
    • 2
  • T. A. Oyedele
    • 3
  • N. K. Onyejaka
    • 4
  • E. O. Oziegbe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Child Dental Health, Faculty of DentistryObafemi Awolowo UniversityIle-IfeNigeria
  2. 2.Department of OrthodonticsInternational Medical ComplexAlshurfa NajranSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.Department of Surgery, Benjamin Carson, Snr, School of MedicineBabcock UniversityIlisan-RemoNigeria
  4. 4.Department of Child Dental HealthUniversity of NigeriaItuku OzallaNigeria

Personalised recommendations